Thirst for Power

May 27, 2015

Wednesday,8th Week in Ordinary Time

First Reading: Sirach 36:1-2,5-6,13-22

Gospel: Mark 10:32-45

Jesus and his disciples were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead. The Twelve were anxious and those who followed were afraid. (…)

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, “Master, we want you to grant us what we are going to ask of you.” And he said, “What do you want me to do for you?” They answered, “Grant us to sit one at your right and one at your left when you come in your glory.”

But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized in the way I am baptized?” They answered, “We can.” And Jesus told them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and you will be baptized in the way I am baptized. But to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to grant. It has been prepared for others.”

On hearing this, the other ten were angry with James and John; Jesus then called them to him and said, “As you know, the so-called rulers of the nations act as tyrants and their great ones oppress them. But it shall not be so among you; whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you shall make himself slave of all. Think of the Son of Man who has not come to be served but to serve and to give his life to redeem many.”


(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)

Jesus showed to Peter, James and John his divinity shining through his humanity when he was transfigured at Mt. Tabor (Mk. 9:2). These three were also the same disciples Jesus chose to keep him company at the garden of Gethsemane (Mk. 14:33). Being his frequent companions, we can safely conclude that they had better knowledge of Jesus’ person and his teachings. They should have known Jesus’ dislike for self promotion and power play.

Surprisingly, two of them, James and John shamelessly they asked for reserved positions in heaven. They told Jesus: “Grant us to sit one at your right and one at your left when you come in your glory.” They were eyeing the day when Jesus would sit in his throne as judge of humanity. They wanted to make sure they wouldn’t be lining up among those to be judged. They wanted to share Jesus’ power of judging.

Jesus’ reaction was diplomatic. He merely asked them if they could bear the consequence of drinking from the same cup of suffering he was to drink (Mk. 14:23). “Yes we can”, they quickly replied. This quick response mirrors the intensity of their quest for power. They could have said yes to anything, anyway! It was like saying, “we will cross that bridge when we get there, just grant us the power now”.

This Gospel episode tells us that being close to Jesus is not a guarantee that a disciple has internalized Jesus’ teachings.   – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM., MAPM. ( Website:

Prayer for the day:  God our Father, cleanse our hearts of all inordinate attachments to prestige and power so that we may worship you alone as the only God of our lives. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


SAINT OF THE DAY: ST. AGUSTIN OF CANTERBURY, the first Bishop of Canterbury, was a monk of St. Andrew Monastery in Rome. In 596, he was sent by Pope St. Gregory the Great to evangelize England with 30 companions. When they landed in the country of Kent, King Ethelbert received them under an oak, for fear they might use spells and magic, which were held to be powerless in the open air. Being convinced of their good intention, the king gave them a piece of land at Canterbury and permission to preach wherever they wanted to.  The king himself was baptized.